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Willis, Herbert Lead Another Record Westport Field

WESTPORT, Conn. — It was another week and another record at the 49th annual Road Runners Summer Series on Saturday. For the fifth time in eight races, a record number of finishers crossed the line at Burying Hill Beach.

The fastest among them were Shelton's Fred Willis and Darien's Liz Herbert. For Willis, it was his first time in the Westport winner's circle after placing sixth and fifth in the third and fourth events of the 10-race series. Willis, in the final stages of heavy training for an early September marathon in Pennsylvania, said the jump in distance to 8.4 miles suited him, as he pulled away from Westport's Blake Benke in the final miles to notch a 25-second victory in 51:40. "I've been running the Norwalk series races this summer, and I thought their 11-miler was today, but it's not until next week, so this worked just as well," said Willis, who went out after the race to run most of the course again to boost his mileage. "Now I'll probably take it easy until the marathon."

Herbert, who won the 3.8-mile Westport event in July and placed eighth in her age group at last Sunday's prestigious Falmouth Road Race, was on top of her game again, placing 11th overall in 58 minutes, more than five minutes ahead of the next woman. Her time could have been a few seconds faster had she not gone off course for a few yards in the middle of the race. "I wasn't paying attention, but fortunately the guy behind me yelled to get back on course," she said. "It really didn't cost me that much."

The series continues Saturday with an additional nine-tenths of a mile added, starting from Compo Beach. Complete results as well as information on all the series events is available on the Road Runners website .

Do you run road races in the heat of summer? Leave a comment below.

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